About Amsterdam-IJmond

We also pilot the gigantic cruise ships through the busy shipping traffic on Amsterdam’s IJ river to the Passenger Terminal.

About Amsterdam-IJmond

Using 65 registered pilots in total, we each year help some 14,000 ships to smoothly and safely enter and leave the ports of IJmuiden, Beverwijk, Zaandam and Amsterdam. In addition to guiding all sorts of sea-going vessels to the various ports, we also pilot the gigantic cruise ships through the busy shipping traffic on Amsterdam’s IJ river to the Passenger Terminal. We do this under all weather conditions 24 hours a day and seven days a week.


Should weather conditions prevent a pilot from being transported by jet-propelled tender, then a helicopter is used. Alternatively, small vessels may be piloted towards the breakwaters of IJmuiden under radar assistance and VHF radio. This is called shore-based pilotage or ‘Loodsen op afstand’ (LOA) in Dutch. The pilot will board these ships inside the breakwaters. Ships must meet certain criteria to qualify for this.


The lock complex situated on the seaward side of the North Sea Canal offers access to the ports of Velsen, Beverwijk, Zaandam and Amsterdam. The maximum permitted dimensions of ships on the North Sea Canal is 325 metres long, 45 metres wide and 14 metres deep in fresh water.


The IJ-channel deep-draught channel starts 12.5 miles off the coast. It is 450 metres wide and offers vessels with a maximum draught of 17.8 metres access to the port of the steel factory Tata Steeland the transhipment terminal at the Buitenhaven. These so-called deep-draught vessels are always boarded by helicopter with two specially trained pilots who use the latest navigational equipment. The entrance of deep-draught vessels is bound to strict rules.


The Schulpengat channel and Marsdiep offer access to the ports of Den Helder and Oude Schild. From here, ships can also reach the ports of Den Oever and Harlingen.


With its nautical expertise, the pilot organisation of the Amsterdam-IJmond region contributes to the development and realisation of various projects within and beyond the North Sea Channel area and the port of Den Helder. For example our expertise is used for the development of a new and wider lock at Ijmuiden. We also participate in research in relation to the accessibility of terminals for larger ships and construction of new jetty´s. These and other projects have led to an improved accessibility of the area. For many of these projects, the pilot organisation of the Amsterdam-IJmond region makes use of its own bridge simulator facilities.


Loodswezen Amsterdam-IJmond uses L-class tenders, Aquilla-class tenders, Discovery-class tenders and a helicopter to carry registered pilots to and from inbound and outbound sea-going vessels 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.